Skip to main content
Effective Health Care Program

Physiologic Predictors of the Need for Trauma Center Care: A Systematic Review

Systematic ReviewDraft

This report is available in PDF only (4.0 MB). People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For additional assistance, please contact us.

Purpose of Review

To evaluate physiologic measures that can be used by emergency medical services to identify patients at high risk of serious injury and inform decisions about the level of trauma care needed.

Key Messages

  • The identified measures are better at ruling in (high specificity) than ruling out (low sensitivity) serious injury and the need for critical resources.
  • Systolic blood pressure, shock index, and lactate appear to have similar predictive utility for identifying seriously injured patients.
  • Measures used for adults are useful for children and older people although some perform less well.
  • Research is needed on how physiologic parameters are measured, including the use of technology; researchers should use standard definitions to permit comparisons across studies and measures.